Thursday, September 29, 2011


First of all, thank you -- whoa, as I was writing that, something clanged at the window. Thought it was the wind, but there is no wind. Looked out, and a blue jay appeared and flew up to a wire. Why do I need to tell you that? Because last night I was thinking how the whole damn division was conspiring against us, with four of the five teams involved, and I wondered if the Blue Jays were wishing they had a say too. And now a goddamn actual blue jay is apparently trying to dive-bomb through the window and physically attack me. The Hitchcockian nightmare continues. And here I thought I'd finally woken up.

What I was trying to say was, thank you, once again, 2004 Boston Red Sox. Stay with me here. I don't mean I copped out and went to bed happily dreaming of Dave Roberts and Curtis Leskanic and rolling rallies last night, pretending everything was okay. What I mean is that today, one of my Yankee fan friends e-mailed me talking about the crazy night, and, listen closely now, I was able to calmly describe my feelings and rationally converse about what happened in baseball last night, and about the Yankees' chances in the ALDS. Before 2004, I'd be in a fuckin' bunker right now, waiting till I heard the first bird chirps, or should I say blue jay attacks, of spring. No way I could face anybody, let alone Yankee fans. Especially if it was 2003, or 1999, or 1996, or 2000, or 1998.

And that's how "things are different." That's how that 2004 team changed everything. A change that can only be seen as positive. Michael Kay and a bunch of other people tried to deflect that whole amazing thing by saying ending the drought was the "worst thing" for the Red Sox (a pre-emptive defense mechanism, as he'd said it before 2004 actually happened). But it continues to reveal itself as the best thing.

And finally we get to "second of all," which is looking back at those crucial 10 minutes last night.

At 11:53, the Yanks have first and third, no outs, 7-7, top 12th. Meanwhile, the Red Sox are leading 3-2, bottom 9th, two outs. So after the recent crappiness, which came after the great start to the night, which came after the horrific September, which came after the glorious middle season, which came after the dreadful start, here we were, actually in a position to go to the playoffs, without even having to play a play-in game. Because the Yanks were almost guaranteed a run, possibly with a bigger rally to come, and the Red Sox were one out away from victory. It was probable that both games would come out right, after all this, though I knew very well how close it was to going the complete opposite way.

That's when the key moment of the season happened (edging out that triple goddamn play). Grounder to Longoria, and Golson gets caught off third base. Tries to scurry back, is tagged out. That whole inning changed right there, because now it's 1st and 2nd, 1 out. And at that very moment, Papelbon put the tying run on with a double.

Then, in rapid succession, over the next 10 minutes:

Yanks make their second out.

Pap gives up game-tying double after being one strike away.

Yanks make their third out.

Pap gives up winning hit, as a bumbling Crawford can neither catch the ball nor play it on a hop, either of which would have kept the game alive.

Longoria homers to start bottom 12th.

It was 12:03. I was able to piece the times together from my live-blogging last night, which covers the last several posts. Ten minutes. From in to out. One game had gotten to midnight thanks to a crazy comeback and extra innings. The other because of a rain delay. It would have been an incredible night of baseball regardless, but the way it all lined up, I still can't believe it. Here's to a much better 2012. Especially the September part. Fenway will turn a hundred and we'll be frolicking in the sunshine once again. And John Lackey will be somewhere far, far away.

damn dude, did i write this?
I'm not even sure.
Keep the Faith, Jere.

Better days are ahead.
I was so angry last night (and so in shock) that I didn't other to listen to Castiglione read Green Fields of the Mind. It's a little too subdued for the tragedy that was September.
It didn't even cross my mind with all that went on.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States